The anti-consumerist lefts tactic of non-buying emerges from a broader ascetic anti-consumerism. The most egregious example of this unfortunate tendency is Buy Nothing Day, the demand that people refrain from spending money on the day after Thanksgiving, the second-biggest day on the retail calendar.
Ive a vivid memory of John Berger, whose latest book, Here is Where We Meet (Pantheon), appeared this past summer: seeing him on his giant black motorcycle.
In the month of October, as the Plame Game dragged on and the hard right scuttled Harriet Miers in favor of Samuel Little Antonin Alito, all of the leading figures in the Democratic Party watched quietly from the sidelines. Except, of course, for Al Franken, who, though ostensibly a political commentator and satirist, actually has become a leading voice of the Democrats.
And so the Revolution of Exalted Embarrassment begins. The silence of the products, the deep put-on of the products, is no longer the monarch before which we grab and swipe and save and spend. In fact we are belly-laughing profoundly. We are watching the amazed wandering away of our hands.
Just before noon on Saturday, October 15, 2005, 90 U.S. civilians buckled into the cramped seats of a vintage 1960s Soviet-made Ilyushin Il-62 flying out of Beijing and bound for Pyongyang, the epic, showcase capital of the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea.
In the snowy March of 2003, I climbed Slide Mountain, the tallest of the Catskill range at 4,180 feet, and met a wild-looking man named Sean McFall, who was staying 35 days on Slides shoulders, in the three-foot snow drifts, with the ice blowing from the treetops and his demonic-looking white bulldog keeping him warm when the temperature dropped to minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
Ed.'s note: James Yee, former U.S. Army Muslim Chaplain at Guantanamo Bay, here recounts his experience at Gitmo's Camp Delta.